White House staffers told to ‘disregard’ departure memo, ‘updated info’ coming
There was confusion at the White House last Wednesday when conflicting internal memos were issued that advised staffers in the Executive Office of the President to begin preparing to leave work ahead of the transition next month. Reportedly, one memo told them to prepare to leave, the other told them to stay.
Multiple sources, including Politico, are reporting that in an email from the White House Management Office, EOP staffers were instructed to “please disregard” an earlier memo that had been sent Tuesday informing them that they “will start departing” on the week of Jan. 4. They were to start leaving the first week of January ahead of Inauguration Day on January 20th. Staff was told they’d receive their last paychecks in February.
The Tuesday memo also included information pertaining to outgoing employees’ payroll, benefits, sick leave, records, ethics debriefing, and security clearance. Staffers were notified that they would receive a “comprehensive checklist” in the coming days and be directed to “take inventory of your office space.”
Other items in the memo included “cleaning out your refrigerator and microwave,” and returning “all White House stationery” and “Presidential gifts.” Work supplies “will be disinfected upon return,” the memo said.
White House staff told to ignore message explaining departure procedures. pic.twitter.com/vhoMTm2qZe
— Numberonepal (@numberonepal) December 23, 2020
The initial White House memo sent on Tuesday contradicted the ongoing public effort by President Trump and his top aides to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election over voter fraud. By Wednesday morning, the White House Management Office had advised in its new email that “updated information will be shared in the coming days.”
The memos come as White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly visited Georgia on Tuesday to observe local officials’ audit of absentee ballot envelope signatures — a process demanded by the president as part of his bid to overturn the battleground state’s election results.
As recently as Tuesday night, Trump had posited in a video message posted to Twitter that perhaps the next administration “will be me.”
The conflicting memos caused rampant rumors to virally spread on social media on whether the president would vacate the White House willingly or not. None of the rumors are credible.
Here's text of disregard email to WH staff, per source:
"Good morning EOP staff,
Please disregard the below message. Updated information will be shared in the coming days.
Thank you, White House Management Office" https://t.co/f48qWUHn0l
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) December 23, 2020
The majority of staff in the West Wing are political appointees, meaning their job duties end when their president leaves office. There are some military aides and executive staff who are government employees and may stay detailed to the White House into Biden’s tenure.
President-elect Joe Biden has ordered that the White House undergo a deep cleaning between the Trump and Biden administrations. Even though the coronavirus reportedly cannot live on surfaces for more than a few hours.
Among the items being scrubbed: the furniture, doorknobs, window treatments, light switches, elevator buttons, restroom features, dispensers, and more.